A year in Dnepropetrovsk

An American volunteer in Ukraine

Archive for Around the city

Dnepropetrovsk, our not simple city

Enjoy the sites of this complex city! Explanation of sites available upon request.

Yom HaShoah

Holocaust Remembrance Day is an extremely important and meaningful holiday for Jews throughout Ukraine. Guests came from all over the country– from Kharkov, Dneprodzerzhinsk, and other eastern Ukrainian cities– as well as from Israel. In addition to the JDC Jerusalem group, the Metsudah leader, Shy, also came to Dnepropetrovsk to commemorate the occasion.

We congregated around the memorial that commemorates where the Jews of Dnepropetrovsk were executed at the start of the Holocaust. There were speeches by Rabbi Kaminetzky, Aharon Weiss, survivers and their relatives, high school students, and others. Poetry was read, candles were lit, and Yulia and I sang a sad Hebrew piece, Eli Eli. We then laid carnations and stones on the memorial. It was a beautiful and moving ceremony. You can see the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish Community’s pictures of the event here.

JCC Oscars

In the past two years, the Jewish Community Center has made four films, including Purimspiel, the silent film we made at Sunday school. On April 19 the JCC held an Oscars ceremony to celebrate these films and those who participated in the process of creating them. The JDC Jerusalem group, visiting eastern Ukraine for the week, attended as well. My friend Yulia and I sang a Hebrew song, HaLev, between film screenings. It was quite a celebration.

oscars-1 Read the rest of this entry »

Tanakh signing

A few weeks ago, Dnepropetrovsk participated in a global effort to write the Tanakh (the full Jewish Bible, beginning with the Torah, the first five books, and continuing with the Prophets and the Writings). Each participating city chooses a book to write in full, and then congregants each write one phrase in their native language. Dnepropetrovsk chose the book Bamidbar, or Numbers, to write in Ukrainian.

tanakh-1

Here is Aharon Weiss, of Joint Jerusalem, former director of Yad Vashem, opening the ceremony. Read the rest of this entry »

More cultural differences

“I went to the toy store to buy a gift for Ksyusha,” a friend was telling me the other day. “And I was totally surprised! They have everything there! I’ve never seen so many toys in my life! When I went to Oksana’s house to give the gift to her, I saw all the stuff that Elizavetta [her daughter] has. There’s this… thing, for example, that hangs over her cradle and spins and plays music and everything!”

“Yeah, so?” I snorted.

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East vs West

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December advertisement featuring Valeriy Konovalyuk, a member of the Party of Regions, which has strong ties to Russia. The sign reads:

“Issue at stake: NATIONAL IDEA
Valeriy Konovalyuk
Farewell, arms!
Farewell, NATO!
National idea:
A new Ukraine-
Without the right to mistakes”

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Craziness and idleness

We moved. Everyone moved.

I was trying to explain the economic situation to my grandmother the other day after she told me that it couldn’t be worse than in America.

It is.

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